265 parks and green spaces in Wales have received the prestigious Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. They include a diverse range of sites, from country parks and formal gardens, to allotments, woodlands and churchyards.
Now in its third decade, the international Green Flag Award is a sign to the public that a park or green space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites, which are maintained and run by volunteers.
Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:
“Our local green spaces have a vital role to play in connecting us to nature. These awards go to prove that Wales’ parks and similar areas are doing a wonderful job in providing quality places to relax and enjoy.
“The standard required to achieve Green Flag status is very high so I want to congratulate all of the sites recognised for providing excellent, year-round facilities to local people and visitors alike.
“It’s fantastic to see we still hold more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites in Wales – especially as the last two years have taught us all of the importance of nature and green spaces on our mental and physical wellbeing.”
Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said:
“The last few years have really shown us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”
Keep Wales Tidy are always on the lookout for new places to join the Green Flag Awards. If you’d like to put your park or green space on the map, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru for more information.
On the 14 July we are holding our first in-person Green Drinks networking event with PHG Consulting. Not only are PHG members of Cynnal Cymru who share our values, but last year the building became Cardiff’s second Living Wage building whereby all tenants agreed to pay the real Living Wage to their employees and contractors working on site.
This first event will showcase PHG Consulting and sister company, Wellspring Homes sharing their experience of designing sustainable housing projects helping to reduce the emissions associated with materials and construction processes (aka ‘embodied carbon’). It will also be an opportunity to hear about the innovative methods of construction using solid Hempcrete walls.
PHG Consulting – structural engineering inspired by nature
Founded in 2013, PHG Consulting is a firm of consulting Civil and Structural Engineers based in Cardiff.
Unlike many firms, they seldom advertise, or aggressively market themselves, preferring to allow their work and reputation to speak for itself, as over 85% of their work is repeat business.
They support many local community and environment causes and are passionate about Engineering, Architecture, Sculpture and the Arts, and promote creativity wherever they can. In particular, they support the promotion of engineering in local schools.
Wellspring Homes are a property developer established to bring low-embodied-carbon homes to both the affordable and private market. Their vision, to pursue construction-innovation which utilises better-than-zero carbon technology to deliver the next generation of living space.
With a desire to provide homes that are beautiful, practical and beneficial to the environment, Wellspring build with solid Hempcrete walls supported by a sustainable timber frame structure. Made from a mixture of hemp and lime, Hempcrete is ‘a revolution in sustainable living’.
As well as being a natural, better-than-zero carbon product, Hempcrete is breathable, insulating and mould proof. Its breathability allows moisture to pass out of the building, virtually eliminating internal condensation and potential mould growth. Its unique properties help to store and release heat from the building’s walls, limiting fluctuations in temperature and reducing energy use, the monolithic structure ensuring a high air tightness performance.
Lynfi Court in Maesteg, Wellsprings first project, is approaching completion. With its use of environmentally friendly materials, internal area of 3000ft2, air source heat pump and underfloor heating, it delivers a luxurious example of cutting edge, eco-living.
With planning permission granted for eight more homes in Neath using the same methods, Wellspring Homes continue to demonstrate what future-living can look like when the commercial housing industry choose to ‘build-different’.
Heating and renewable energy installers Heatforce Wales helped Llandaff based RC2 (property & regeneration consultancy) in their journey to achieve “net-zero” carbon status.
Spearheaded by business owner Robert Chapman, RC2 have been on a path towards carbon neutrality for many years, and the project with Heatforce is the latest in a series of investments.
“Over several years now, we have continually invested in Bush House (our head office) as part of our goal to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to become more sustainable,”
These investments have included:
Installing 14 Solar Panels
Improving the fabric of the property to improve energy efficiency and sound insulation
The installation of LED lighting throughout both floors
The installation of insulation material in the attic space
The installation of smart meters
However, in 2021, Robert decided to completely remove his dependence on fossil fuel gas to heat the property and began looking at alternatives.
“After a considerable amount of research, I decided that an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) would be the most efficient means of heating the property without using gas,”
“However as this was not a “new build”, I needed to find a company that could retrofit an ASHP, and so began my journey towards Heatforce”, he continued.
He initially found a national firm that could provide the ASHP, however, it became apparent that while they could indeed install the system, they were unable to connect it to the existing heating system in the property.
All looked lost until a chance meeting with Jake Maddocks, Director of Heatforce, gave hope that the project could remain on track.
“Robert had used Heatforce previously, but was unaware we had moved into renewables,” said Jake. “We both share a passion for the environment, so when he explained the predicament he was in, I knew instinctively it was something we could help with,” he continued.
With extensive experience in transferring both commercial and residential buildings across to renewable forms of energy production, Jake and his team were not only able to install the ASHP but also retrofit it to the existing heating system.
Planning was submitted by Robert at the end of July 2021 and within a month, the project was given the green light. Fortunately, the lockdown meant no staff were on-site, so the Heatforce team were able to move quickly.
“We started by upgrading the existing heating infrastructure (installing new pipes and replacing the old single radiators with double radiators) and then installed the ASHP, before connecting it all together,” said Jake.
Once switched on, the system worked perfectly.
Robert was able to remove his dependence on gas to heat the property and thanks to the system installed, he gets 3.86 watts of energy for every 1 watt used.
More importantly, the project fits in with his ethos of “Massive Small.”
‘‘Massive Small responds to the frustration of failed grand plans and vast rollouts,” said Robert, “and builds on the success of distributed ‘small’ projects that model new solutions to old problems. A collection of small projects or small initiatives collectively can have a massive impact’’.
What is more, the installation has taken Bush House from an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of D to a B – a huge jump.
“If more and more businesses realised the savings they can make from replacing fossil fuels with renewables,” said Robert, “not only would they be better off financially, but using the ethos of Massive Small, we could make huge improvements to the environment at the same time.”
Since the first year of Local Places for Nature in 2020, nearly 800 gardens have been created, restored and enhanced. Community groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes got involved – from disability charities and youth groups to social enterprises and carer groups.
Applications have now reopened, and communities are being urged to get involved early to avoid missing out. The new online application system makes it very easy to apply and review progress, as well as offering resources, guidance and updates from the Local Places for Nature scheme. You can choose from small or larger-scale wildlife and food growing gardens, or for the first time the scheme is offering a new community orchard package.
Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:
“The pandemic has given us all a greater appreciation of nature and its importance on our health and mental wellbeing.
“I’m pleased to be supporting another year of Local Places for Nature. The programme makes it easy for people from all backgrounds and abilities to get involved, as a community, to create and enjoy nature in the places where we live and spend most of our time. “Valuing nature and taking small local level actions is so important as part of the collective effort needed to tackle the nature emergency, and support the variety of plants and animals we love to see in Wales.”
Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy Louise Tambini said:
“Over the past two years, people have really appreciated the value of nature and we’re delighted to offer again free garden packs to communities. We know that gardening and being out in nature has a positive impact on mental wellbeing, and it’s a great way to keep fit and meet new people. Through Local Places for Nature, we have created hundreds of new habitats and spaces for nature, which is vital in the current climate emergency and decline in biodiversity.”
“Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government and our partners our garden packs include all the materials and tools you need to create a new space for nature and Keep Wales Tidy staff will be on hand to install the garden.”
The initiative is jointly funded by the Welsh Government, part of a wider Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ programme committed to creating, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’ and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Afallen is a small company that delivers sustainable projects in Wales. We aim to keep money and skills in Wales. We also champion and support open source ways of working as stated in our values:
“We champion the use of Creative Commons and open source solutions, and we embrace the right to online privacy, free from surveillance capitalism”
Without diving too deeply into the detail of Creative Commons (CC) or ‘free and open source software’ (FOSS), our ‘championing’ of the sector means that we want to see a world that is more supportive of a digital ‘commons’ that belongs to humanity, rather than the current headlong rush to grab digital assets, often creating huge wealth for the owners of companies, often at the expense of the privacy of individual users.
Without getting into the details of licensing, both FOSS and CC aim to generate public bodies of work (including code or software) that are available to everyone for free, and for any use. Perhaps the best-known example of this type of platform is Wikipedia.
Afallen is particularly interested in how the esoteric concepts that underpin a digital commons are embedded into how we work, and how they can add value for us and for the people and organisations we work with. In this article I will be focusing on FOSS, although CC has many similar benefits associated with it.
There are a number of different themes that are relevant to the perspective of a small business – equally applicable to small charities or not-for-profit organisations.
Learning and development
Firstly, as a values-based organisation, FOSS is strongly aligned with our corporate objectives of seeing a fairer, more prosperous and more environmentally friendly Wales. In fact, most of the Future Generations Goals are supported by using CC and FOSS products or platforms, in contrast to closed source or proprietary tools (see image).
As an example, most commercial products require an up-front or on-going licence fee to be paid in order to use the software. The software companies are generally based outside Wales, contributing towards economic leakage from Wales. FOSS software can usually be used for free, eliminating the barriers for payment to access it.
FOSS products can be modified or adapted, particularly interesting in Wales where this functionality enables projects to be readily translated into Welsh; I am currently a volunteer translator for a number of open source projects, including Impactasaurus, Zulip, Open Collective and Pixelfed.
FOSS can allow older hardware to run more efficiently, reducing the need for frequent upgrades of computers, and reducing the environmental impact of organisational tech use.
Entering the world of FOSS is to embrace a beautiful ecosystem of people, organisations and technologies that co-exist with the overall purpose of ensuring access to all for the code that is created under the FOSS umbrella.
There are literally millions of people working on FOSS projects globally at this instant; most of the code that you are using to read this blog post, from the operating system to the tech that allows the hardware to operate, will have an open source aspect.
This huge and frenetic mass of activity is constantly propelling different software projects forward, and in ways that are often as advanced as their commercial counterparts. This process creates innovation, which is something that can be highly beneficial to small businesses.
Indeed, many FOSS projects are directed specifically at small businesses. The process of understanding your current organisational needs, and then figuring out how different FOSS components could offer alternative solutions, can result in surprising innovations, to the benefit of your organisation and clients. The ability to modify FOSS projects means that they can be altered for your organisation’s specific needs.
Learning and development
Closely tied to the innovation aspect is the opportunity to learn and develop skills associated with deploying FOSS platforms. As an example, my first experience with FOSS through business was to create a website for RenewableUK Cymru using WordPress. That led on to developing multiple websites for various events, and then onto hosting FOSS polling platforms for an awards programme.
Since leaving RenewableUK Cymru I have branched out further, and am now – despite not being a ‘coder’ – very comfortable deploying FOSS products such as online forums, direct messaging platforms, information repositories and peer-to-peer video calling. The astonishing thing for me is that this stuff is pretty straightforward; if you can copy and paste instructions, you can almost certainly do this yourself. Yet the implications are quite profound for me as an individual, building confidence and capacity that I am now also able to deploy pro-bono for the public sector and charity.
One of the most attractive features – for me anyway – about FOSS is that it is free at the point of use. This can make it a very interesting alternative to commercial applications.
Whilst there is a cost for hosting the software on your own server (I am currently paying about £5/month for each deployment of forum, messaging platform, information repository and website), those costs are generally a small fraction of the costs associated with the commercial equivalents.
For example, Slack, a popular messaging application, costs between £5-£10 per month per user for more than ‘basic’ use. An open source equivalent, Zulip, is totally free if self-hosted. For organisations seeking to reduce their overheads, these cost differentials can be alluring.
Although this component of FOSS is not on the radar for many organisations, the ability to use software without ourselves or our customers being tracked online is an important consideration for Afallen. Many commercial platforms require users to abide by licence agreements that require them to surrender their digital privacy in exchange for the use of the platforms. Such requirements are not generally needed for FOSS software.
As an example, our website is based on WordPress, the most popular and widely used blogging platform. We have eschewed third party add-ons that collect website visitor data, so when you view our website you know that nobody is tracking you. The social media feeds embedded on our website are Pixelfed and the Welsh version of Mastodon called ‘Toot.Wales’. Neither of them embed any tracking software on your browser when you visit.
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, you may still be scratching your head about how to start your FOSS journey. Here are some suggestions:
Send me a message or give me a ring – I am always happy to chat through ideas
If you don’t have the time or inclination yourself, recruit a Digital Degree Apprentice (it could be an existing staff member) to experiment and deploy FOSS assets on your behalf. The current Welsh Government programme, run by UWTSD, is an extremely attractive offer
Join meetings of the Senedd Cross-Party Group on Digital Rights and Democracy, which often discusses issues around FOSS in Wales
With more vehicles than ever before on our roads and a significant increase in our food and drink on-the-go culture, roadside litter is a growing problem in Wales. It is harmful to our environment and wildlife. It ruins the beautiful views for locals and visitors alike, whilst also being difficult, dangerous and expensive to clean up.
Research shows that 78% of vehicle litterers feel guilty after littering. [i] Keep Wales Tidy’s new campaign encourages drivers to have a guilt free journey with no regrets and to ‘Drive your litter home’.
The nationwide campaign is being run as part of Caru Cymru (a Welsh phrase meaning ‘Love Wales’) – an inclusive movement led by Keep Wales Tidy and councils to inspire people to take action and care for the environment.
As part of the campaign, outdoor advertising will appear across roadside litter hotspots in Wales such as roadside billboards, back of buses and petrol pump adverts. This will also include radio and digital audio advertising to target drivers listening to their favorite channels.
Advertising will step up a gear during busy weekends and bank holidays over the summer months to target as many drivers as possible.
Keep Wales Tidy has also developed resources for haulage companies and other commercial drivers to utilise.
Keep Wales Tidy Chief Executive Lesley Jones said:
“We’re putting our foot down on roadside litter. Not only is it a blight on our beautiful country, and often the first thing visitors see when arriving into Wales, but it also has a significant impact on our environment and wildlife. We estimate that the cost of collection and disposing of roadside litter in Wales is at least £3.5 million every year.
Our new roadside litter campaign takes ‘do the right thing’ up a gear by highlighting how littering makes people feel. The vast majority of drivers know that littering from their vehicle is unacceptable, and we want everyone to have a guilt free journey with no regrets.
When you’re out and about in your vehicle please leave nothing behind you. Keep your conscience and our roadsides clear by driving your litter home or disposing of it in the nearest bin.”
Caru Cymru has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
[i] Highways England. (2021). Understanding Vehicle Littering Research Report.
Made from renewable, FSC-certified paper, the highly decorative butter wrap is aluminium-free and covered in highly advanced, ultra-thin natural coatings, which have excellent oxygen and water vapour barrier properties compared to standard paper, as well as superior grease resistance.
“Most butter wraps in the UK market are made of parchment paper or a grease-resistant paper which is commonly made into composite laminates with aluminum and polyethylene,” explained Wipak UK’s Technical Development Manager, Keith Gater. “Although made from renewable resources, coated parchment papers do not promote a circular economy as they’re not easily recyclable.
“Unlike existing butter wraps on the market which are complex material structures, our consumer-friendly paper solution is fully recyclable within the kerbside paper and cardboard waste stream once it has been cleaned. What’s more, it maintains the look and feel of a traditional butter wrap, can be fully printed with brand imagery, and runs on existing butter wrap machinery.”
Having successfully passed shelf-life trials following packing on automated wrapping lines, Wipak UK’s recyclable butter wrap has also scored an A+ rating in recycling tests2 carried out by the BioComposites Centre at Bangor University. “This classification is the highest possible score that can be achieved for paper recycling efficiency, whereby the pulp recovery must be a minimum of 98.5%,” continued Keith. “Our wrap is also compliant with UK-set guidelines for claiming paper recyclability, which require a minimum paper content of 85%.”
The butter wrap format is one of several exciting new product development projects developed using Wipak UK’s state-of-the-art combi laminator – part of a recent £5million+ machinery upgrade to significantly enhance the packaging supplier’s sustainable product offering. This significant investment is helping Wipak UK move closer to its goal of reducing its company carbon footprint and achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.
“With growing pressure from consumers, brands and retailers need to take decisive action with disruptive sustainable packaging solutions that challenge traditional methods,” said Keith. “Solutions like Wipak UK’s butter wrap will not only have significant environmental benefits, but will help to keep brands relevant in an increasingly competitive market.”
The BFI and BAFTA albert have announced today that Wales has been selected to put environmental sustainability recommendations for screen production into action in Screen New Deal: Transformation Plan.
The initiative is a follow-up to the Screen New Deal report released in 2020, which explored the carbon impact of the film production sector and proposed a practical route forward for scripted film, high-end TV drama and studio-based productions to reach a zero-carbon, zero-waste future, aligned with net zero and science-based targets. The BFI’s National Lottery Research and Statistics Fund supported the Screen New Deal report which was produced by leading global engineering and design firm specialist Arup with BAFTA albert, the leading screen industry organisation for environmental sustainability and the BFI. The BFI’s Research and Statistics Fund has now awarded up to £80,000 National Lottery funding for the Transformation Plan project as the next phase of work.
Through the Screen New Deal: Transformation Plan, the BFI, BAFTA albert and Arup are working with Creative Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Clwstwr to conduct localised data collection and mapping. This will identify film and HETV-related services which already exist in the area, highlight service gaps and advance the creation of a location-based transformation plan to decarbonise TV and film production.
The first 12 months will focus on data collection followed by the development of the transformation plan over the following six months. Data and learnings gathered during the mapping and creation of the plan will be shared with other UK screen clusters looking to achieve zero-carbon and zero-waste in order to support the production sector more broadly. The 18-month programme will deliver the transformation plan by mid-2023.
Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “‘I am delighted that this pioneering sustainable research project for the screen industry run by the BFI and BAFTA Albert has been secured to Wales, following a successful bid from Creative Wales with delivery partners Ffilm Cymru and Clwstwr. As part of our Programme for Government, we are committed to supporting action that reduces our carbon footprint across the economy, and look forward to working with established screen stakeholders across Wales including production companies, public sector broadcasters, studios and the industry supply chain. The data gathered will be invaluable in helping us forge a path to secure a zero-carbon, zero-waste and a stronger, fairer, greener future for the industry here and across the UK.”
Harriet Finney, the BFI’s Deputy CEO and Director of Corporate & Industry Affairs, said: “A Screen New Deal provided a route-map to help the production sector reduce carbon emissions and waste. Producers and funders are looking for solutions to help them meet their net-zero targets however the fast-paced and peripatetic nature of production is challenging for individual productions trying to find how that they can achieve that. Taking this work across a screen ‘cluster’ will develop practical and sustainable outcomes that can work for all productions and help reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.”
Carys Taylor, Director of BAFTA albert, said: “We’re really excited to roll out this next phase of the Screen New Deal project in Wales.. The TV and Film production industry has an unparalleled opportunity to be the catalyst of change, both in front and behind the camera, and I’m delighted this collaboration will be spearheading the exploration of practical, location-based solutions for decarbonizing TV and film production.”
Creative Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Clwstwr champion environmental sustainability across their activities and have generated a high amount of buy-in across the country from studios, producers and suppliers. Their commitment to sustainability combined with the high concentration of studios and the scale of production scheduled to take place in 2022 will ensure that a rich dataset could be gathered and a detailed transformation plan produced.
Because the speed of film production does not allow individual productions to seek out individual solutions, the transformation plans will create sustainable infrastructure measures that film productions can access as they are moving around the country.
Data gathering and the development of the transformation plan will comprise a range of activities including all productions being asked to measure their carbon footprints; encouraging suppliers to share their data on energy and travel; and stimulating the creation of new products and services such as reuse networks. There is also potential for cross-sector sharing of certain resources such as reuse networks which may be useful to theatres, galleries and the hospitality and events sector.
The Cardiff Capital Region is the UK’s third largest audio-visual media sector after Greater London and Manchester. Outside of London, the region boasts one of the biggest concentrations of studios in the UK with Bad Wolf’s Wolf Studios, Dragon Studios, Great Point Seren Stiwdios and BBC Drama Studios in Roath Lock. It has a number of leading production services and post-production services including Real SFX, Location Solutions, 4Wood, ADF, Dragon DI, Bang, Gorilla, Cinematic, Bait VFX, Streamland Media and Painting Practice. Film and television productions made in Wales include Dream Horse, Willow, Sex Education, War of the Worlds, His Dark Materials and Doctor Who.
Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director of Creative Wales, said: “We welcome the news that Creative Wales has been successful in winning this bid, and thank the BFI and albert for developing such an important opportunity for the industry in Wales, the UK and beyond. Developing sustainable production practices across Wales is a top priority for us, and together with all delivery partners we are excited to build and consolidate on the great work already being done in Wales, and set a path to realise the project’s ambitious goals.”
Professor Justin Lewis, Director of Clwstwr, said: We are thrilled to be announced as a pilot cluster to research and develop (R&D) a localised transformational plan for the media production sector in Wales. In recent years, Clwstwr has supported a number of green R&D projects in the screen sector focusing on carbon footprint reduction and lower environmental impact – there is no shortage of ideas or willing from Welsh creative innovators. And this important work will further Clwstwr’s ambition to see Wales at the forefront of efforts to move media production towards net zero and to be a true leader in green media production.”
Pauline Burt, Chief Executive of Ffilm Cymru Wales, added “This partnership of aligned interests, coupled with in-depth research and understanding, offers genuine opportunity to significantly advance environmental practice in our screen sector. For Ffilm Cymru’s part we are committed to ensuring that the approach works for all company sizes and for professionals at any stage of their careers, whilst building upon complementary offers that have already been secured for Wales including seed and scale-up funding for products and services that support green working practice, which Ffilm Cymru manages on behalf of its collaborators as part of its Green Cymru programme.”
A Screen New Deal – a Route Map to Sustainable Film Production was published by the BFI in partnership with albert and Arup and can be read here. Green matters – Environmental sustainability and film production which drew together evidence and first-hand experience from industry practitioners, was published in February and can be read here. Both reports were funded by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Fund awarding funds from the National Lottery.
FOR Cardiff is the business improvement district (BID) for Cardiff city centre. As a BID they are elected and subsequently funded by the non domestic rates payers within a defined area – they collect an annual levy from these organisations and use those funds to deliver a five year business plan.
Their current business plan runs from 2021-2026 and includes ambitions to help Cardiff businesses transition to a greener economy, alongside a host of other projects such as promoting the city to a wider audience, improving the safety of the city centre, and improving the public realm.
As a company in development, GGFA is a budding example of how individual sectors are working towards the global goal of net-zero emissions, by developing a sustainability framework specifically for funeral directors.
Offering a bespoke service to each member, the GGFA will provide guidance and support for funeral directors so they can make a positive environmental impact with the resources available to them. It will provide recognition of this impact through a four-tier award system, which can be used by members to showcase their work around the sustainability agenda to customers, stakeholders, and the broader community.
More information about GGFA will be available soon.
The Cynnal Cymru network is a community of proactive organisations who share our vision and values. Members and partners are action focused and innovative, eager to learn and collaborate to find solutions and new ways of doing things for a more sustainable Wales.
On joining Cynnal Cymru, our members have access to a free sustainability assessment, action based training and a diverse network of like-minded people.
If you are committed to a sustainable future and interested in becoming a member or in partnering with us then we would love to hear from you. Find out more >>
TfW has collaborated with Alun Griffiths Ltd and the Cambrian Village Trust in the heart of the Valleys to transform a disused area into a green space for growing produce and improving biodiversity.
It’s been made possible thanks to funding from the Local Places for Nature scheme from the Welsh Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. It’s part of a larger £100,000 grant-funded Green Routes project to enhance biodiversity at 22 stations and in five community areas.
The Green Routes Project
Across the 22 stations, this will include the introduction of green features, including green walls, pollinator-friendly planters and wildlife boxes, designed to boost and enhance biodiversity in and around station habitats creating wildlife corridors connecting these habitats to the wider landscape and surrounding ecosystems. All the features contribute to increased resilience of our natural environment, support nature recovery, and improve areas for pollinators helping to halt and reserve their decline.
Through this fund, TfW is also working in collaboration with five community partners within one mile of a station to enhance communal green spaces and establish ‘green routes’ between these community areas and stations.
Alana Smith, Sustainable Development Officer at Transport for Wales, said: “The Green Routes funding is meant to try and connect people to the nature on your doorstep, in communities.
“We decided to try and go for this pot of money to try and enhance nature and biodiversity in communities near our train stations.
“We’re delighted with the success of the project with the Cambrian Village Trust.”
The Cambrian Village trust already runs a range of outdoor activities, local events and workshops at its centre next to a lake in Tonypandy and was looking to develop its site further for the benefit of the community.
Gavin Mcauley, Community Development Coordinator at the Cambrian Village Trust, said: “During lockdown the space was an empty blank canvas and we wanted to develop the facility to allow the community to have a space of their own.
“My idea was that people would be able to grow their own produce, cook their own produce and then sit down and eat together as a community.
“We got in touch with Transport for Wales and they were talking about the project and that we would have some planters and an allotment space and we wanted to develop that idea.”
Jeannie Jones, a volunteer with the Cambrian Village Trust, added:
“It’s very exciting and we’re fortunate because the lakeside is such a beautiful area.
“Then we got this facility right on our doorstep to enhance it. These projects can benefit so many people. They can dip in and out as they need and the community spirit is excellent.
“It’s nice for us to get together and help one another. We thoroughly enjoying it and feel fortunate to have this here.”